Leadership maturity can be a contagious element of an organization that motivates people to achieve at an inspired level. Those who attain this lofty mindset learn the essential traits from formal and informal mentors who possess seemingly specialized characteristics that empower those in their orbit.
While leadership maturity continues to be relatively rare and elusive, the necessary skills are a matter of learning, honing, and putting them to work. When a genuinely mature leader is at the helm, organizations enjoy a competitive edge and are able to realize lofty goals.
Examples of Leadership Maturity in Professional Sports
Football and basketball enthusiasts typically identify some of the iconic athletes who possess the highest leadership qualities as “The GOAT,” which is short for Greatest of All Time. Former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady won seven Super Bowl championships. He emulated leadership to such an extent those around him tapped into a winning mindset to repeatedly earn championships.
The same holds true of Michael Jordan, who demanded his teammates meet the standards of champions year after year. Winning six NBA championships and two Olympic Gold Medals, Jordan was as comfortable taking game-winning shots as he was passing to teammates who met the Chicago Bulls’ standard of excellence.
While great leaders can inspire team members and onlookers alike, they stand out because they are as rare in athletics as they are in the corporate world. A Gallup poll indicates that only 18 percent of people in managerial positions demonstrated the required talent to lead others. However, leadership maturity skills can be learned and shared within any organization willing to invest in its people.
What is Leadership Maturity?
It’s important to understand that leadership maturity is not necessarily quantifiable. In other words, someone cannot simply complete coursework, pass examinations, and frame a leadership diploma in their office. The traits can be explained by experts, but each person must integrate those skills into an authentic management approach. These are things mature leaders do well.
- Take Initiative: People who earn their way into management positions typically don’t need to be told what to do next. They see the big picture and take steps on their own to get the job done.
- Proactive Thinking: When someone’s head is in the game, they anticipate critical next steps. In sports, that may entail spiking a football to stop the game clock without a coach’s instruction. The point is that mature leaders understand the circumstances in real time and further organizational goals without managerial oversight.
- Listen Effectively: Communication skills are crucial to getting staff members all moving in one direction. It may sound counterintuitive to upstarts who are learning the ropes, but communication starts with listening to others.
- Critical Motivation: People like Jordan and Brady were able to effectively rally team members in situations that appeared hopeless. It’s easy to motivate others when things are going your way. But those who have been tested and persevered are unflappable under pressure.
- Remain Disciplined: This trait is sometimes referred to as “follow through.” People with great ideas cannot always bring them into reality. But experienced leaders know how to maintain their focus and take incremental steps to complete tasks in a timely fashion.
- Love to Learn: The people hired to further company goals were onboarded because they bring unique skills to the operation. A truly mature CEO or department supervisor possesses the humility to learn from others, regardless of position. Not only does asking questions or taking instruction from others augment your skills, but it also demonstrates you value and respect others.
- Delegate Tasks Effectively: Micromanaging staff members impedes productivity. It also sends a message to employees they do not have the company’s trust. This makes people feel undervalued and creates a negative environment. Savvy leaders challenge people to excel in a positive fashion.
Perhaps the most important and elusive trait involves empowering others. The great ones can do this by example, through encouragement, and by demonstrating confidence in their abilities. This, in turn, transfers leadership maturity qualities and helps create a rich workplace culture.
How Does Leadership Maturity Empower an Organization?
Upwards of 70 percent of a team’s engagement is driven by their manager, according to a Gallup study. There are wide-reaching theories about how, or why, mature leaders are able to empower colleagues. In “The Leadership Pipeline” by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, and Jim Noel, an empowered organization is said to be driven by expanding leadership opportunities beyond first-tier managers. By contrast, reserving leadership maturity development for only upper management personnel doesn’t create a winning culture.
In both the Brady and Jordan era, coaches and commentators spoke about their organization’s culture. By spreading the growth opportunities to others, companies are building a powerful next-person-up mindset.
A Deloitte Leadership Maturity Model analysis called this “systemic leadership,” the highest level of achievement. The report also noted organizations that took a comprehensive approach to developing in-house people were creating the “DNA of leadership” embedded in the company’s values. In quantitative terms, Gallup pointed out that dynamic managers who possessed mature leadership skills experienced 27 percent higher productivity than others.
Learn More About Leadership Maturity with Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching
At Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching, we’re in the business of changing the world by developing leadership qualities in deserving people. If you are interested in honing your skills and empowering those in your organization, reach out to us and learn more.